Came across this interview with Kim Collins today from Spikes Magazine.
For those that don’t know, Kim Collins is an absolute legend, hitting a personal best this year in the 100m dash, 18 years after his first appearance in an Olympic semi-finals in 1996.
For any track & field athlete this is a worthwhile read, but especially sprinters – here’s a guy that has remained relevant in international sport for two full decades.
You first broke in to the world’s elite in 2000, and you’re still there. Kim Collins, what is your secret?
“I try to preserve my body. I think injuries are preventable. Sometimes I’ll race and I feel something, I just have to chill.”
“The problem is, when it comes to training, it’s what we call volume and intensity. It means: the distance you run, how fast you run it, and how many times.
“Both volume and intensity cannot be the same, but for some athletes it is – and it’s too high.
“One guy told me he was running 20 x 100 metres all out in a training session. I would never do more than 3 x 100 metres at high intensity.
“Very rarely, you go all out in training, and I think that’s the mistake most people make. They come to training every day and want to break a personal record or world record.
“You come to train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – and then you compete on Saturday. And you wonder why you’re running slower in competition than in training. It’s a vicious cycle.”
You mentioned that a lot of sprinters overdo it in training. How do you do it?
“I start out slow, probably running 17-18 seconds for the 100m. You get your body accustomed to that. It’s low intensity, but high in volume. You look for form, you look for technique.
“When your body gets accustomed to that, you take it down a notch, and you go a little bit faster. As you get faster, you do fewer amounts of reps. What that does, it teaches your body to run 100 metres. It teaches you to run. And then you get faster, and faster and faster.
“People want to go on top of the top. We call it ‘top-a-top’. It doesn’t exist. If you’re on top, there’s no top on top of that top.
“You’re trying to ask for something that’s not there, and that is when your body begins to break down.”
When did you learn all this?
“Trial and error. Back in high school, you’d come to training and do 10 x 200 metres all out. For me, that’s not good. I was in pain for days.
“When I won [world 100m gold] in Paris, I was training three days a week, some people got upset and said ‘that’s not good’. But it’s about understanding, and not doing too much.
“Even when you go the gym and see the guys that live there, you cannot lift like them. But still people attempt to do it. When it comes to listening to your body, a lot of the time you feel a little tweak and instead of getting treatment, you want to push further and still wants to compete.”
Do you go the gym much?
For no more than an hour a day, about three to four times a week. A lot of people forget we are human beings. We’re not indestructible. There are days when you’re in bed and not feeling well. You say, ‘how do you feel?’ There are days when we have to say we’re not up to it. We’ll stay in.